Thomas J. Scheff, professor emeritus of sociology, at the University of California, Santa Barbara has received the Award for Sociological Practice from the Society for Applied Sociology.
The association will recognize the retired professor during its annual meeting in Dallas in October. The award is given yearly to an outstanding sociologist who has demonstrated how sociological practice can advance and improve society.
An expert on the sociology of emotion, Scheff brought national attention to the sociological effects of shame. He has written a number of articles and books on the subject, including the book, "Bloody Revenge," which looks at the role shame and rage play in inter-group conflict. One reader of the book recently invited the sociologist to lecture in Northern Ireland in connection with the peace process.
In addition, Scheff and his wife, Suzanne Retzinger, moderate an Internet discussion group on shame and related emotions. Retzinger is the co-author, with Scheff, of their book, "Emotions and Violence."
His first book, "Being Mentally Ill," a widely known study of the sociology of mental illness, helped California lawmakers rewrite the state's mental health laws in 1968. A third edition will be published this fall.
Scheff retired in 1991 after a 28-year tenure at UC Santa Barbara. He has not strayed too far from the classroom and continues his research on social psychology, emotions, and mental illness. Currently, he is exploring infatuation, solidarity-alienation and alternative methods of crime control.
Scheff is a former chair of the Sociology of Emotions section of the American Sociological Association and president of the Pacific Sociological Association.
Founded in 1978, the Society for Applied Sociology provides a forum for sociologists and others interested in sociological knowledge. It strives to enhance the understanding of the inter-relationship between sociological knowledge and sociological practice and improve sociological research and training.